How Pharmacists Can Help Address Health Care Disparities in BIPOC Communities

March 31, 2021

P.J. Moton-Poole, a senior manager at ViiV Healthcare, discusses the role pharmacists play in addressing health care disparities in BIPOC communities.

Pharmacy Times® interviewed Russell Brewer, DrPH, a research associate professor at University of Chicago Medicine, and P.J. Moton-Poole, a senior manager at ViiV Healthcare, on the expansion of ViiV Healthcare’s accelerate initiative, which funds projects that support the health and wellbeing of Black same-gender-loving men throughout the United States. Specifically, the expansion of the initiative focuses on disrupting disparities in care for Black same-gender-loving men living with HIV.

Alana Hippensteele: What role do pharmacists play in addressing disparities for BIPOC communities?

P.J. Moton-Poole: So often when I hear addressing disparities for BIPOC communities,I immediately think about one of the primary barriers, and that's themes around like medical mistrust.

So, the easier conversation to have about that is historical events like Tuskegee, but I think there's a more modern conversation that I don't think many people are having, and that's this idea around any point in one's journey to engaging with health care, whether it be the parking attendant at the clinic, the front desk receptionist, the [health care professional], or even the pharmacist, that interaction could help or hinder one's journey by the way that they engage with the client.

So, it only takes one bad experience to potentially lose someone to care, especially when we're talking about marginalized folks who are already navigating the world feeling like a target.

So, pharmacists can do just that, they can contribute and do everything to ensure that they uphold an excellent standard of care and concern for all clients, and do their part to ensure that the client experiences that from entry to exit.